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April 20, 2011 By Hendrik-Jan Francke

What We Read #3: How Design affects your site’s ability to land a sale

Converting clicks to customers for client websites is always on our minds.

For years, we've read research on improving your site's ROI, and we've learned that the key is making your site's design and structure easy to use for visitors.

What We Read: Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox

That's why we read usability expert Jakob Nielsen's online column, Alertbox — a great resource for the latest web usability research and studies. We've learned a lot from Nielsen over the years so we want to share some of his most valuable findings with you!

We've chosen 3 articles from Nielsen's Alertbox on basic web design principles and how not following them will cost you sales on your site...

About Jakob Nielsen

Deemed "the king of usability" by Internet Magazine and web developers alike, Dr. Jakob Nielsen is an expert on how people use websites. Luckily for us, Nielsen publishes his research findings on Alertbox, an online column he updates bi-weekly.

Here are 3 Alertbox articles that can help you put your website's design and information architecture in perspective:

Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design

Don't let your site's success fall victim to unscannable text or a superficial search.

In this article, Nielsen reveals some of the most infamous Internet mishaps that can lead to frustrated users and lower conversion rates. Avoid these web offenses and your users will be much more satisfied with you and your site!

Read Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design

Closeness of Actions and Objects in GUI Design

Think copying everything you see on popular sites ensures quality user experience? Think again.

One of the oldest principles of human-computer interaction is that objects presented near each other onscreen are related.

For example, if a "Buy Now!" button is too far away from a shopping cart icon, users will overlook that action. Nielsen's article explains how even top-selling sites such as iTunes violate this principle and thus threaten user experience.

Read Closeness of Actions and Objects in GUI Design

Mega Drop-Down Navigation Menus Work Well

The point of IA and navigation is to display the site's content in the clearest manner.

Until now, drop-down menus have been notorious for violating this principle by frequently preventing users from seeing all options at once.

Finally, new research confirms a solution to this usability problem! By implementing mega drop-down menus, users can view their navigation choices on a larger area in a categorized manner, thus contextualizing their options more efficiently.

Read Mega Drop-Down Navigation Menus Work Well

This post is the third installment of our What We Read series, which offers clients the opportunity to gain some insight into our philosophy as web designers.

If you missed our previous What We Read posts, check out What We Read #1: Writing for the Web Tips and What We Read #2: 7 Articles to Close the Gap Between Client & Designer.

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